Inspired at WLC, Indiana FFA member raises funds to help build well for Kenyan villagers

Last summer, Paul Thieme learned about the power of one. A week of hard work at the the Washington Leadership Conference helped him focus on who he is, what he’s good at and how he could help others. He researched causes that might possibly need his skills, talents and passion.

He discovered Kager, Kenya, where safe water is miles away from the village of 3,000. Securing even a questionable state of safe water is the job of women and their children, who three times a day walk up to four miles for water. Then he found Healing Hands International, an organization that raises money through walkathons to cover costs of drilling community wells in Kenya and a host of other African nations.

“I was inspired. I was called to serve,” said Thieme, a senior FFA member at Hamilton Southeastern High School in central Indiana. “Because I have the ability, I had a responsibility to do something.”

0611_blogHe organized his own walkathon and called on his FFA chapter and fellow students to join the cause. Toward the end of the school year, dozens of students and teachers walked two miles, filled five-gallon buckets with reservoir water and walked back to school with the buckets on their heads. The event raised more than $7,000 for Walk4Water.

WLC is happening now through July 27. This year’s Day of Service each week will feature FFA members packing 400,000 meals of chicken, rice and macaroni and cheese for distribution in the greater D.C. area.

WLC  is sponsored by title sponsors Monsanto and CSX and weekly sponsors TransCanada, Crop Production Services and Farm Credit. Each week’s Day of Service is supported by Land O’Lakes, RAM Truck, Elanco, Nationwide Insurance Foundation and Tractor Supply Co.

Earth Day 2014: Vernon FFA (Fla.) Tackles River Cleanup

Editor’s Note: FFA members care about their education, their community and their environment. On Earth Day 2014, here’s one story about an FFA chapter making a difference in all three areas. This story is adapted from an article appearing in the winter 2014 edition of New Visions — the official newsletter of the National FFA Alumni Association.

Holmes River

Holmes River

At the heart of Washington County, Fla., is the Holmes River. Locally called “Holmes Creek,” the natural waterway is the center of community activities for boaters, fishermen, canoers and kayakers and swimmers. It flows for miles through the county, beginning as a tiny stream and continuing to grow as it is fed along the way by several springs.

Holmes Creek is often filled with boaters, fishermen, kayakers and swimmers, depending on the season. ‘Going to the creek’ is probably the favorite recreation for most of the youth in and around the town of Vernon. It also draws visitors from surrounding counties. Continue reading

Vote FFA in Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship Film Festival

Video is a stirring communication tool, and it’s one that the Boston College Center for Corportate Citizenship wants to recognize as a way to show the difference people can make around them. National FFA Foundation platinum sponsor CSX took that challenge to heart and produced a beautiful video featuring FFA members making a difference at last fall’s 86th National FFA Convention & Expo.

Watch here:

Now, CSX is hoping to spread the message of FFA members playing a pivotal role in supporting National Safe Place (with the assistance of City Year and Dignity U Wear) in the BCCCC Film Festival. You can help by voting for the video now:

Voting ends February 7.

The project, held as part of National Days of Service at the 2013 convention, was not an easy one for the FFA volunteers. Continue reading

Living to Serve: Environmental Grant webinars

Johnson County FFA

It pays to go green!

Learn more about how your chapter can secure a $2,000 grant for tackling an environmental issue in your community through one of our free webinars.

During each one-hour session, we’ll discuss project ideas and tips for filling out the online application.

Webinars will offered every Thursday starting this week (May 2) through the first week of June.

The webinars will last approximately one hour. Participation is not mandatory for those applying for the Living to Serve Environmental Grant, but is encouraged.

Register today!






TWOLO! (The World Only Lives Once)

Mount Dora

Members of Mount Dora FFA chapter in Florida put an interesting twist on a popular slogan to help teach their community about the importance of recycling.

“YOLO” stands for “You Only Live Once.” “TWOLO,” according the Mount Dora members,  means “The World Only Lives Once,” so we better take care of it the best we can.

The members wanted to get this message out to the public, so they applied and received a Living to Serve: Environmental Grant. The grant gave them the funding they needed to develop materials and implement a recycling program.

To help get their message out to the public, they wrote and recorded a rap song. They also designed artwork for signs and handouts and developed lesson plans for elementary, middle school and high school students.

You may think that with all the time they were putting into their educational efforts, they’d have little time left to actually implement a recycling program. But, the students also worked with the City of Mount Dora to select the appropriate recycling containers and manage the collection of recyclable materials for their schools and the downtown area.

While the community was learning about the importance of recycling, the students were learning some important lessons of their own. From the “artists” to the singers, to the poets and the planners, everyone soon found they had gifts, talents, and ideas to contribute to the cause. And, they learned all about problem solving, planning and collaboration — lessons that help them to continue to make a difference in their communities, long after they leave high school and FFA.

Does your chapter have a great idea for tackling an environmental issue? Mark your calendar for April 1, when the 2013 Living to Serve: Environmental Grant application will be available.

Environmental Grants are sponsored by CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister and the leader of the U.S. Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 60s.

Dr. King’s message was one of equality, civility and service to others. On this day and everyday, we encourage you to take the time to answer what Dr. King said was life’s most persistent and urgent question:

What are you doing for others?


Learn more about the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. in this video from

mlk video

FFA Partnership Grows Chickens for Hunger Relief

Originally posted on Unity College Sustainability Monitor:

During Spring Break, an unusual package arrived in the mail.  It was a shoe-box sized parcel, with several air holes on each side.  It filled the post office with a surprising amount of noise for its size.  Chirping to be precise.  That chirping heralded the beginning of a Spring project and an exciting new partnership.

In February of this year, the Waldo County Technical Center FFA chapter, in partnership Unity’s Collegiate FFA, was awarded a grant to complete a collaborative project  called “Pastured Poultry for Food Security.”

The support for this project comes from the National FFA Organization’s Food For All grant, which is funded by Farmers Feeding the World and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation as part of the FFA’s ongoing commitment to service learning as a means of both developing future farmers and positively impacting communities.  (Learn more about the FFA’s Living 2 Serve program here.)

View original 382 more words

Unity FFA visits Waldo County Tech FFA


We are so proud of all of our Food for All grant recipients! Here’s another great project being conducted with Living to Serve funds.
If you’re interested in apply for a Living to Serve grant, check out the webpage for information about availability and deadlines.

Originally posted on Unity College Sustainability Monitor:

From Shayne:

A group of Unity College students who are part of the College’s FFA club visited the FFA club of Waldo County Technical Center to collaborate on the current Pastured Poultry for Food Security project that was made possible by the National FFA Food for All Grant. The meeting started out by playing the icebreaker game  “Have You Seen My Goat” so that students from both schools would get familiar and  be open for discussion later in the meeting, then we moved on to a presentation by the Unity College FFA members that informed Waldo County FFA students about the project, some basic information on pastured poultry, and general chicken knowledge.   After this the students from both schools came up with some ideas on how to build chicken tractors and made recommendations for the structures.   The collegiate FFA students brought 2 of the chicks along for the…

View original 92 more words

Living to Serve: Environmental Grants

National Proficiency Winner - Vegetable Production

Earth Team Volunteer and National Proficiency Award Winner Mallory McDevitt



We are  excited to announce a new grant opportunity for FFA chapters:  Living to Serve: Environmental Grants!

Chapters may apply for up to $2,000 to support year-long service-learning projects focused on developing and implementing projects that address local environmental needs.

Applications are due June 1, 2012. Project topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Wildlife conservation
  • Land preservation
  • Environmental education and stewardship
  • Recycling and composting

The application and additional information can be found on the grant website,

The Living to Serve: Environmental Grants are provided through funding from CSX as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.